Friday, November 27, 2009

The Answer is Now Incorrect For Iverson

allen-iverson-tattoos So Allen Iverson was passed over by the Knicks.

Yes, the Knicks are terrible. And yes, the Knicks are being highly criticized for not signing Iverson to at least make things interesting for Knick fans. However, have we looked at what else that statement says?

Allen Iverson was passed over by the Knicks.

Have things become this bad for Iverson?

The answer is yes. And this is a prime example of how fast things can go wrong for an athlete in any sport, especially the National Basketball Association.

Iverson for years was the little guy that could. Dominating games, and giving up us body at the mere height of six feet. Iverson, the first overall pick in 1996 by the Philadelphia 76'ers, entertained fans by his ability, quickness, and scoring. He’s earned and MVP award, and has been to the NBA Finals with the Sixers.

However, since his trade to Denver, he has become exposed as a player that was more flash than substance. Tagged as a ball hog, and a superstar that does not make his teammates better, Iverson slowly began to grow out of favor with many scouts and GM’s around the league.

Denver gave up on him. A few games after being dealt to Detroit, he was relegated to the bench. After signing with Memphis, he played three games, and now finds himself back on the free agent wire.

As much of a fan favorite that Allen Iverson is, it seems much of the extra baggage that came with Iverson has finally caught up with him. Despite playing harder than most players in games, Iverson dogged it in many practices. Who can forget the infamous “we talkin’ about practice” press conference? Iverson has had many run-ins with coaches, refuses to come of the bench, and seems to be a greater liability than an asset for a franchise.

Charles Barkley, who has been known to never hold his tongue stated that if Iverson intends to continue in the NBA, there comes a time in every athlete’s career where he must realize his limitations.

The problem is, Iverson never believed he had limitations. It’s what made him such a great player, but now makes him just another former star with a fading career, no ring or championship pedigree.

We’ve seen this before. With Stephon Marbury, Isiah Rider, Shawn Kemp, Latrell Sprewell and others. And slowly seeing it with the likes of Tracy McGrady.

Guys who bought into their own hype. And paid much more than market price.

Hopefully, Allen Iverson gets back into the league one day (Rumors now say the 76’ers are interested). Hopefully, he can get over his own ego, get out of his own way, and finish his career the way his fans would want him to.

And as for talking about practice? Now, more than anytime, is the best time for Iverson to begin caring about it.  

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful For Life

On thanksgiving, it is so often noted that we should give thanks for the things that we are so blessed for having in our lives. Health, happiness, and love is usually universal in appreciation. Even money, if you qualify and hold quantity in high regards. Nonetheless, it can be agreed upon, that giving thanks and appreciation on a day like today is not just important, but necessary.

After all, in our society, we have a day celebrating and honoring many various qualities, and even others celebrating various fictional characters. It is imperative that at least one is dedicated to appreciation, and is honored for its gratification and self-less motive. Thanksgiving – a day of family, friends, sports, and fellowship. A day of giving thanks for what we have in our life. 

It becomes so cliché, but how many of us actually understand what that means? How many of us actually give thanks for life?

Let it be known that I believe that Thanksgiving is the purest holiday of the year. It is one of the rare holidays in our nation, and on the calendar that isn’t packed with gimmicks, falsified by media, marketing, and corporations, and not altered from its original meaning. There aren’t any silly characters or ridiculous routines. It’s the sheer enjoyment of bonding over a meal.

Now, many may say Christmas, but Christmas is the sheer example of everything stated above. It is amazing how Christmas, a holiday dedicated to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, has become an excuse for shopping, elaborate parties, decorating, and “getting in the mood” with an abundance of Christmas music without any real reason of why it is being done.

Today, I had an opportunity to understand a little bit of what true appreciation and giving thanks entails.

That opportunity came when I delivered a tray of food to an elderly lady my mother cares for. The elderly lady, in early eighties, is of a rare kind, as she still functions and operates coherently for her age. Much like many elderly persons, she is limited physically at this point of her life, yet, is more than capable of accomplishing tasks needed for a quality lifestyle.

However, the elderly lady lives alone. All by herself. Without anyone. She has outlived most of her children and her husband, and carries the burden of that with her for the rest of her life. Her house, littered with memories that are sure to be reminders of what was, and standards that pale in comparison to the current day.

On this day, I decided to spend sometime with her, helping put her food away, and just relaxing for a bit. The mere fact of another soul in the apartment was enough to energize and put a smile on her face. As we sat and chatted as she ate her Thanksgiving meal, we chatted about various things, including giving thanks and death.

She slowly went from discussing her present, to that of her past of when times were well, or “when I was young and crazy as opposed to old and insane” as she hysterically put it. Listening to her talk about preparing meals of the past for her husband and friends were quite interesting as she precisely decorated her story with details ad flair.

and then she said…”And now look at where I am.”

She pointed to the quiet, dark, empty apartment on a cold Thanksgiving day.

She followed up with, “but you know what, I’m thankful for what I had. Not many people give thanks for the past, but you know what, it’s just as important.”

The statement had wheels going in my head. How amazing is it for this lady, who is alone on a Thanksgiving day, to be so open about giving thanks? No depression? No bitterness? No burden?

As I remained seated across from her and in awe of her words, she proceeded towards acknowledging death. She uttered the word without fear, and with such confidence. She stated that she is “aware that death is around the corner.” She continued on stating that, “most people on Thanksgiving are thankful for what they have.” “I am thankful for nothing more than time".

It was an amazing twist on the already popular phrase of “being thankful for what you do have, rather than being upset about what you don’t.” Here is this lady who is thankful for life! Whether it was good, or bad. She was thankful to experience it.

And as I gave her a hug, said my farewell, and headed for my car, I was still in amazement of someone at that age spending the rest of this very day alone with years of better times in the memory bank, and having the ability to whole heartedly give thanks.

Thankful for life. Imagine that.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Taking Care of The Real People That Build These Stadiums

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I understand the power of sport and business. I definitely do.

However, sports are just an avenue of entertainment and enjoyment. A mere means of theatrics, thrill, and emotion that remove us from the on-going struggle of everyday life. Sports, however, are in no way an essential part of life.

Even as an admitted fanatic of the New York Yankees and New York Knicks, I understand that as rich in history as the two franchises and their two home facilities in Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden are (or have been), they are not as important as the important things in life. They are not as important as life.

With that understanding, is why I cannot understand the constant movement for the Atlantic Yards project here in Brooklyn, NY. For those who are not familiar, the Atlantic Yards project, spearheaded by Real Estate and Architect mogul, Bruce Ratner, is one that surrounds the construction of a massive new arena for the now New Jersey Nets, multiple offices, luxury condos, apartments, and restaurants in the middle of downtown Brooklyn.

Yes, the project, which has since been fighting legislation, lawsuits, and other objections from its original expected time of breaking ground in 2004, has finally been approved by the highest court in New York State. The project is slated to dramatically increase Brooklyn’s economy and its surrounding areas due to the injected income of retail, high end real estate, and all the benefits of a professional sports team in the area can generate.

However, as the years have gone on, and the objections and rejections have piled up against Ratner and crew, the smaller the project has become. What once started out as a mega plan which garnered political support due to it’s emphasis on creating jobs, real estate, and revenue, and has now been reduced to several office buildings and the arena, which has already sold naming rights, and will be titled, The Barclay’s Center.

With all of the perks and benfits now reduced to just a basketball and event arena, is this project even worth it?

I understand the benefits and negatives of such a facility in an area. Although, often times, sporting facilities have proven not to be worthwhile for tax payers and the surrounding economy, just down the road in Coney Island was just the opposite situation.

The effects of Keyspan Park in Coney Island, and how it revitalized a rapidly deteriorated area, back into the historic recreational and tourist attraction that it is, and always should be are unlimited. Keyspan Park worked wonders for Coney Island, so much so, that a few Real Estate big wigs were attracted to the area. They attempted to purchase the Boardwalk area, and turn it into some cheap knock off of Atlantic City with Hotels, gambling, and night life. Luckily, the city purchased the area and that won’t happen. In fact, the area is slated for further major renovations in the coming years.

So, it can work. Could it work again?

The issue with the Atlantic Yards project from day one, and still remains the issue, is the courtesy, and concern for those living in the current apartment buildings that will be torn down in order for this project to be completed. What happens to them? 2006_05_brooklynnetsnew

Most, who have been here for years and enjoy rent control and have been a fixture in their neighborhood for generations, will now be forced to leave. Yes, they would be given a form of reparation for their inconvenience, but is that enough for such a change?

Under the project plan, those who are replaced will have the first priority and opportunity on the new high-end buildings that will be constructed. Developers state that there will be apartments affordable for the middle-class despite being in such a high-end facility. However, what becomes of these people until this project is finished? Can they afford the price on the lower-end apartments in these buildings? And we haven’t even gotten to the inconvenience it would cause to the neighborhood and local businesses while it is being built.

Look, a change like this is good for this borough if it didn’t come with so many question marks. However, it does. And those question marks have yet to be given quality answers to justify this project.

Yet, it seems Albany heard one answer that trumps them all, and that was money. It is projected to be an economic generator, so the project moves forward.  Brooklyn nets1

This city day-by-day becomes much harder to live in due to economics and it’s cost of living. I’m all for moving forward, but not at the expense of pushing out the hard working people that make this city like no other. And most definitely not at the expense of this Borough’s character.

If Ratner, his developers, and his cohorts can effectively take care of the real people that will make this project a reality, he has my support. And maybe, when it’s done in 2011, I’ll attend a Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center. 

Here are a few links worth noting in conjunction with the Atlantic Yards issue:

The Barclay’s Center

Fans For Fair Play

Develop. Don’t Destroy Brooklyn.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Embellished: King of Pop’s Legacy Might Not Be Craziest Thought

michael_jackson
Michael Jackson’s legacy might be embellished.


Yeah, I said it.

Is it OK to say such a thing? Is it politically correct, or even, socially acceptable to state such a sentence?

WHAT?! No it isn’t. You are crazy!”

While your obvious reaction may be just as similar, it is hard to deny that the legacy of Michael Jackson is beginning to take on a new form. A form that is slowly building from legendary authenticity into mere embellishment.  In fact, after his death, its hard to really gauge his true legacy.


After the conclusion of the 2009 American Music Awards, Jackson’s legacy, and the honest reality of it was raised to newer heights. I could not help but wonder, how is it, that Jackson, who passed away right before his actual comeback, can win several awards (thus setting an AMA record) and be nominated for many more, including artist of the year?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

About Destiny

I used to wonder about destiny.

My Place in this world,

and how it affects me.

 

I grind away, each day by faith.

Not relying on this world.

Confident in my very ways.

 

I’m running in space.

I keep trying. No gravity. No movement.

All in vain. No progress. No pace.

 

I often think about destiny.

My place in this world.

And how it affects me.

 

How am I passed so many times?

By others so undeserving? Conscious of so many crimes.

My head start is gone. A debt now growing long.

 

I now focus on my destiny.

My place in this world.

And how it affects me.

 

Will I reach my potential?

Will I ever be satisfied?

What is the Lord’s will for me?

 

This destiny of mine, might be deeper down inside.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The California Chronicles - 11/13/09

After a week of fun in the sun here in California, it is now time to head back to the Empire State. As stated in my last post, I did indeed have one more round of twenty four hours remaining in Huntington Beach, however, nothing came about of the time. In fact, I spent most of the day feeling a bit under the weather due to the see-saw-like weather changes from day to night out here. Days are hot. Nights are freezing. Yours truly becomes sick. 

Nonetheless, before I board a plane, I figured that I could muster up some energy to wrap up this trip, and these chronicles following my trip. California has indeed been good to me. Besides the obvious attractions, sites, and places that I experienced (and listed in the last piece), this trip was one that recharged my batteries for life, enhanced my outlook on ways to live it, and reminded me of how precious it is. 

Sometimes these trips remind you of how large this world is, and how many different varieties of lifestyles there are. So many different ways to experience life, and the many others on how to pursuit it as well. For me it was a stark reminder of that there is life outside of New York City. It sounds somewhat naive in sounding, however, we all fall into a sense of routine in our bubbles. And in these bubbles we lose track of such things.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The California Chronicles – 11/12/09

After two days of journeying all over Southern California, I am able to finally sit down, relax, and punch the keys of the past events. The past two days have been a long expedition of sight seeing and adventure. An adventure that included myself, my tag-team partner, a couple of cameras, a Ford Mustang, and a trusty navigation system, which somehow ended up with the name, “Pam” by the end of it all. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The California Chronicles - 11/10/09

California is amazing

I say that because once again today, like two days ago, yours truly received unsatisfactory news via E-mail. I know, I know, why did I check it right? Like I said, habit. And a bad one while on vacation.

Nonetheless, the news slapped me in the face, and offset my mood on a great vacation. However, once again, California saves the day.

Living in New York, sometimes you forget how fast, and often rushed, everything truly is. From driving, to shopping, to even enjoying a hobby, everything has to be done on time. No scratch that, everything has to be done now. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, however, it’s when you remove yourself out of the pressure intensified vacuum that is New York City, is when you truly realize just indeed how bad it is. How much unnecessary stress is added in the New York City standard of living.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The California Chronicles - 11/9/09

So I lied. 

Yes I lied. Well sort of.

Two days into this journey to the Pacific, I had a lapse and allowed reality to seep into my vacation.

Yesterday I discussed attempting to clear my mind of all the things that one goes through on a daily basis. I stated that I would attempt to leave such aspects back east, and I did. 

Until I checked my E-mail. 

With such habit, one does these things, and well, sometimes it is necessary to follow up and stay somewhat in tune with reality wile on vacation. And with one click, I went from enjoying a great day to somewhat disappointment in a situation that fell through in reality. A situation that leaves me wondering once again of many “what if’s” for when I return three hours ahead to New York City. 

However, I haven’t let that situation completely kill this time out here. In fact, in touring the wonderful city of Huntington Beach, California, I was able to learn and see things in a new way.

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Nothing Like The Holidays (2008)

nothing_like_the_holidays
What’s it about?


A Puerto Rican family in the city of Chicago deals with issues that can potentially ruin their family, and make this their last Christmas together.

Who is in it?

Luis Guzman - Johnny

John Leguizamo – Mauricio Rodriguez

Debra Messing – Sarah Rodriguez

Alfred Molina - Edy Rodriguez

Freddy Rodriguez – Jesse Rodriguez

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The California Chronicles – 11/8/09

It has been a very long time since yours truly has had an opportunity to take a vacation. After all, the year 2008 ended on a shaky note and such matters like vacations seemed cloudy, and doubtful at the least. However, since then, 2009 has been one surprise after another. And although the current year is coming to a close, it is not over. 2009 is still alive, and much like everything has been for myself this year, God’s timing was right for a vacation. 

So here I am on November 8th, and on the other side of the country in Huntington Beach, California. Literally twenty four hours after celebrating the Yankees world championship in downtown Manhattan, I switch gears, pace, coasts, and mindsets. 

See, with every vacation comes the obvious recharging of an individual. An opportunity to remove oneself from the stress and conflict that life brings us on a daily basis. In doing so, participation in routine activities are thus halted to assure of such a stress-free lifestyle.

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Pelham 123 (2009)

movie-poster-pelham-123
What’s it about?


Armed men hijack a train within the New York City subway line with specific intentions and purposes, while putting the lives of New Yorkers in the fate of an everyday dispatcher’s hands.

Who is in it?

Denzel Washington – Walter Garber

John Travolta – Ryder

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Seven Powerful Words

“…And The Yankees Are Champions of Baseball

They were the words of Joe Buck so long ago. The words that defined the Yankees championship in 1996. The first one that I was able to witness. And to this day, I absolutely love hearing that call. There is just something about it as it brings an unconditional smile to my face every time. Every. Time. And in retrospect, it came during an era when Yankee fans took winning, division titles, pennants, and World Series performances for granted. However, over the past eight years, somewhere we were humbled. Brought back to reality. In fact, we witnessed the universe flipped upside down in 2004. And once again in 2007. And it seemed like forever before we could hear those words again.

Who knew seven words could mean so much?

On most occasions, I try to allow myself of at least a day to thoroughly understand a situation or occasion before commenting on it. It allows for more of a rational response, and less of an emotional reaction. However, tonight is different. And for obvious reasons…

The Yankees are champions of baseball.

And as I sit here punching the keys at two o’ clock in the morning, I am reminded of the earlier Yankee Championships. The ones connected to my childhood. And although, it is a different year, different team, and different accomplishment…that feeling is the same.

That feeling of exhaustion after emotionally being invested in the season for over 9 months. Not to mention, the stress of October.

That sick twisted knot that seems to grow in the pit of my stomach in October, and would digress a bit in between games. Only to come back on the first pitch.

The chaos and passion that is New York City, and why I am blessed the good Lord has made this my home.

The sudden excitement of the “Yankee fans.” You know, those that rarely watch a game during the summer, couldn’t name the lineup in August, yet, decide to flaunt their new found allegiance because its now cool to do so.

I especially love them.

And finally, though we always, occasionally, rarely, never get to the stadium, there is still that time to share each and every game with my father, the same way we have since 1991.

Yup, that smile is back. And I’m sure every Yankee fan shares it as well.

I guess seven words are that powerful. And especially so, in the moment.

2009 World Series Champions – New York Yankees

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Too Much of One Thing, A Bad Thing?

With today being election day, I found myself in a bit of a bind. Actually many binds. Binds and conflictions. As with most election days, it is important to vote for various reasons, including the right and opportunity to have your voice heard, and for the struggle and persecution for which many (minorities and women) experienced in order for us to have such an opportunity. And with this election coming off the heels of one of the most important elections in history, there is a lack of urgency that seemed to have been burned out after last year’s election.

Let me first admit, I am no political expert. I am not aware of who holds all the positions, who does what, and all of the other deep on goings. Continuing, nor am I a political fanatic that is engaged with political news, rumors, lobbying, feuds, and statements that some find informational, and somewhat entertaining. However, make no mistake about it, I am aware of the topics, the general positions of representation, and like most Americans, how they can affect change if they are in office.

With that said, today marks the election of what I feel is one of the most important jobs in the land - Mayor of New York City. It is pretty clear that most Mayors across the nation do not have the responsibilities (and headaches) that comes with the position. It’s a different animal. A beast. A position that requires a lot of elements including luck.

This year’s candidates albeit, including many others from students to the infamous naked cowboy, comes down to two men – Michael Bloomberg and Bill Thompson.

The issue that has left me, and probably others questioning their vote, is the topic of term limits. Bloomberg, the current Mayor for the last eight years has done a great job of restoring this city following the effects of 9/11. Crime rates are lower than ever, strict gun laws are in place (ask Plaxico Burress), Schools are in the process of being overhauled, and our city is being economically responsible.

Yet, after eight years of good service, at least in my opinion, and here at the DP, it usually is, Mayor Bloomberg changed the law of term limits to become eligible to run once again. And in addition to that, Bloomberg is seeking complete authority over New York City schools, and other City operations.

On the other side, former New York City Comptroller, Bill Thompson, has several years of experience in handling this city’s finances, and has interesting ideas and abilities that can help move this city forward.

Yet, this election comes down to a factor of allowance. The issue of term limits was placed in the constitution regarding presidency to limit the power of an individual, and from having "King-like” reigns. And the more good Bloomberg has done, the more power he has seemed to inherit. Is that a healthy recipe for a city?

That is the issue here with Mayor Bloomberg. Do we allow a man, who has a done a great job, to continue on with his vision on moving New York forward despite changing term limit laws and increasing power, or do we move forward with fresh ideas, new concepts, and partly, the unknown?

It is a tough call for voters today who, like me, aren’t exactly committed to either candidate. Unfortunately, I had to make a decision, and I did. What decision would/did you make?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Dome Pondering Import – Excerpts From “Blowing The Whistle”

The following import are excerpts that have made their way into the press from the controversial and fittingly named book, Blowing the Whistle. The book written by Tim Donaghy, former NBA referee who was convicted and sent to prison due to gambling on NBA games, shared his thoughts, and lets some secrets out in a book that is sure to make David Stern cringe. The excerpts, which are very interesting, touch base on topics such as gambling amongst the league referees, star treatment, and makeup calls. 

Whether or not the book has any leverage and/or credibility in the way fans view the NBA is yet to be determined. However, one has to one what Donaghy would have to lose at this point? He is in jail. He is forever blackballed. And revenge against the the machine that is the NBA is impossible. What’s left to do but tell the truth?